From blokecore to shirred jerseys, football’s girl-coded makeover holds a deeper message

By J'Nae Phillips

Published Jul 11, 2024 at 10:42 AM

Reading time: 2 minutes

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If ever there was a time for football fashion to become girl-coded, that time is now. With major events like the UEFA European Championship currently underway and the Lionesses UEFA win in 2022, there’s been a shift in football fashion from traditionally masculine, rugged aesthetics to something a little softer—all in a bid to look good on the ‘gram. And while 2023 was unofficially declared the year of the girl, with the Barbie movie takeover combined with the Beyhive uniting globally and the unshakable presence of Swifties, not to mention ‘girl dinner’, ‘girl maths’ and ‘hot girl walk’ trends, girldom is still very much dominating pop culture with football’s feminine fashion spin being no exception.

From Conner Ives making reconstructed shirred football tops that are unique one-of-one pieces sold on a first come first serve basis, and the multiple Adidas x Wales Bonner Sambas releases (which were originally made for the football field but have since transitioned to becoming a fashion girlie wardrobe staple), to designers such as Hattie Crowther challenging the status quo with collections that explore the darker side of football fandoms, key players in the industry are giving footie fashion a girl-coded update.

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A post shared by Conner Ives (@connerives)

This shift is trickling over to the street style space with WAGs such as 23-year-old Tolami Benson, girlfriend of Arsenal and England player Bukayo Saka, spotted at England’s opening game in the 2024 Euro wearing a custom leather biker jacket by Antonia Bronze styled with a top from Gen Z’s favourite brand of the moment Diesel. Not to mention celebrities such as Dua Lipa, Kim Kardashian and Addison Rae being quick to jump on the blokecore-meets-football fashion trend which is spotlighting this style in a way previously unseen. Maybe that’s why football jerseys have emerged as this season’s biggest breakout item, ushering in an era of updated style codes that has seen ladies take charge.

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A post shared by @tolami_benson

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A post shared by Antonia Bronze (@antonia.bronze)

Social media platforms like Instagram and TikTok have only served to amplify girl-coded football fashion, with the influencer elite and everyday fans showcasing how they incorporate football gear into their outfits. Popular TikTok videos cover everything from girls styling football jerseys and football jerseys being the uniform of the summer to girlie football fans picking sides with many donning FC Barcelona tops while others opt for Liverpool jerseys, it’s a clash of the football fashion titans we never knew we needed.

@ellascottsports

how pinterest cool girls are wearing football shirts and soccer jerseys this summer 🧚‍♀️ #summerfashion #blokecore #footballshirt

♬ original sound - Ella Scott 🎀
@gabbyjefferyy

Meet my latest obsession #footballjersey #summerfashion #springfashion #ootd

♬ OKAY JT - renny

The girlification of football fashion signifies a subtle yet progressive movement towards gender equality in sports fandom, while giving those inside and outside of fashion’s walls a novel mode of sartorial expression that feels very Gen Z. This aligns with the Zer girlies who are helping to break the mould and shatter sports stereotypes—in 2023 there was a +15pt increase in the total number of Gen Z women who consider themselves sports fans compared to 2022, and the interest in women’s sports continues to boom in Europe as societal shifts take hold with Denmark’s national male team refusing a pay rise to ensure their female counterparts get equal basic wages.

As Gen Z continues to carve out their very own sense of personal style, they’re blending sporting codes with a greater sense of cultural consciousness that’s celebrating football in all its diverse, stylish glory. It’s now about more than mud-splattered boots and sweat-soaked jerseys, football fashion has undergone a sartorial metamorphosis thanks to the girlies. Viewing the sport through a ‘girl-coded’ lens brings it a fresh wave of aesthetic and social relevance, but it also taps into football’s relevance in the wider fashion sphere as traditional kit elements are mixed with avant-garde designs, mirroring the fluidity of modern fashion gender aesthetics.

Interweaving themes of empowerment, self-expression and cultural nuance, this specific fashion trend has more substance than what most fads are about nowadays. Football jerseys, Samba sneakers and knee-high socks have become a canvas for creativity and cultural commentary thanks to their girlified updates, with this fusion of football and fashion not only elevating the game’s fashionable flair but also championing the voices and values of a generation determined to redefine the rules both on and off the pitch.

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